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In China’s Wall Street, bankers and traders sleep in offices to beat Shanghai COVID-19 lockdown

Reuters
In China’s Wall Street, bankers and traders sleep in offices to beat Shanghai COVID-19 lockdown

LUJIAZUI. A man walks in front of Lujiazui financial district, seen across the Huangpu river at dusk, amid the lockdown in Pudong area to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Shanghai, China, March 28, 2022.

Aly Song/Reuters

Brokerages, asset managers, and financial exchanges in Lujiazui – China's answer to Wall Street – prepare sleeping bags and basic supplies for key personnel

SHANGHAI, China – More than 20,000 bankers, traders, and other workers are bedding down in office towers in Shanghai’s Lujiazui district as they bid to keep China’s giant financial hub ticking over through a COVID-19 lockdown, according to local administration officials.

Brokerages, asset managers, and financial exchanges in Lujiazui – China’s answer to Wall Street – rushed to summon key personnel to offices ahead of the lockdown on Monday, March 28, in Shanghai, and prepared sleeping bags and basic supplies for overnight stays.

Some have also adopted two-team rotation shifts, and initiated disaster recovery centers in a financial hub that processed more than 2,500 trillion yuan ($292 trillion) of financial transactions last year.

The 20,000 people working at 285 office towers in Pudong’s Lujiazui Financial City, east of the Huangpu River, include white collar workers and some service staff, according to the administration bureau of the district, also home to some non-financial institutions.

Shanghai, home to 26 million people, started a lockdown on Monday by dividing the city roughly along the Huangpu River, to allow for staggered testing. Shanghai houses China’s biggest markets for stock, bond, foreign exchange, and derivative trading.

Amundi BOC Wealth Management Company said its senior executives, as well as key investment, trading, and risk-management staff are working and sleeping in their offices, to ensure smooth business operations.

Meanwhile Haitong Securities Company said chairman Zhou Jie arranged emergency on-site duty shifts at its subsidiaries in Pudong on Sunday night, March 27, and led more than 150 key staff to work in offices starting Monday. The brokerage also kicked off two-team rotation shifts between its two office areas, it said on its official website.

HFT Investment Management, BNP Paribas’ Chinese fund venture, also put 52 workers in key positions in offices around the clock during the lockdown period.

Elsewhere Sinolink Securities issued a notice on Sunday night, urging its staff on duty to rush back to its headquarters in Pudong before midnight, so as to “ensure continuity of system operation and trading,” the Chinese brokerage said on its website.

An executive at a foreign bank in Shanghai, who declined to be identified, said his bank is on a hybrid working model, with some staff working and sleeping at a backup office in Puxi, in the western side of the city, while some others staying in a trading room in Pudong.

A source at another foreign bank said the lender had been using disaster recovery centers for over a week, a practice that will continue.

The officials declined to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to media.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange told Reuters it kept minimum teams of staff in key positions within the bourse, while others work from home in an arrangement designed to minimize human contact, while ensuring safety of trading. – Rappler.com

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